The BBC is preparing a complete revamp of iPlayer as it prepares for more global SVoD competition. The BBC now says it expects iPlayer to eventually become the main way people view its programmes. Shows will now be made available by default for up to a year, rather than the 30-day limit.
iPlayer had a 40 per cent share of the streaming market five years ago but this has collapsed to 15 per cent after the explosive growth of Netflix – even before the launch of more rival services such as Disney+ and Apple TV. No date has been set for the relaunch, which will be the service’s fourth major revamp since it launched 12 years ago. It will retain its name but the “look and feel” will be changed, while all BBC channels and live events will be integrated alongside box sets.
Tony Hall, BBC director general, will tell an audience this evening (07/10) iPlayer will be “a new front door for British creativity”, as the broadcaster promises talent “unprecedented levels of creative freedom” and a “broader shop window” on BBC platforms. He will also publicly accept that the corporation simply cannot compete in financial terms with the resources of its US rivals.
The move risks irritating ITV by undermining the joint BritBox venture, which is due to launch this autumn priced at £5.99 (€6.70) a month and is being pitched as a cheaper additional streaming service for consumers who already subscribe to Netflix.
Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s director of content, said: “iPlayer will become the heart of everything we do; the gateway to all our programmes – a ‘total TV’ experience, which will bring everything you want from BBC television into one place for the first time.”